Would You Rather?: Plagues vs. Famine

Original Publication Date
September 5, 2020
Jan 10, 2023 1:20 AM
Would You RatherPlaguesExodus
Bible References
Genesis 41; Exodus 7-11
This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on September 5, 2020 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.
Table of Contents
Would you rather live through a famine or through the 10 plagues of Egypt?
Would you rather live through a famine or through the 10 plagues of Egypt?



There are several famines mentioned in the Bible. We see them as early as Abraham's lifetime and they continue even until today. Israel experiences a few famines as a nation as well. Two of the worst famines (in my opinion) that occurred in Israel's history are the one that lead them to Egypt[1] and the one that occurred during the siege on Jerusalem in 70 AD. The former lasted for 7 years and was eased by God's revelation through Joseph to the Pharaoh of Egypt. The latter was much shorter but so extreme that people resorted to cannibalism.[3]

The 10 Plagues

When God delivered Israel from Egypt, He did so by striking the land of Egypt with 10 plagues.[2] The plagues were as follows: water to blood, frogs, lice, flies, disease on the livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the first born.

My Answer

10 plagues of Egypt


I know you're thinking, "why on earth would you pick the plaques!?" Hear me out...

As mentioned earlier, several famines occurred during Biblical times. My thought process stems form the famine that brought the Israelites to Egypt in the first place (I feel like it's the one that would come to people's mind first, especially juxtaposed to the plagues of Egypt). It lasted 7 whole yearsβ€”that is a long time to have a food scarcity. Thanks to God's revelation through Joseph, Egypt was able to stockpile food, but they still had to ration it to make sure it lasted the 7 years. Best case, that's 7 years of dieting; worst case, there's riots and cannibalism...

And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

The Bible doesn't tell us how long the plagues took, but the key here is that God's people only suffered the first three plagues (turning the water to blood, frogs, lice). After the first 3 plagues, the Israelites were simply spectators, watching God reveal His glory. There were at least 7 days between the water and the frogs, though it doesn't say when the plague on the water stopped. Between each of the other interactions Pharaoh has with Moses, he requests the plagues to end and Moses does so. With this in mind, each of these would last for a relatively short period of time. The worst of the three mentioned, in my opinion, is the water to blood. It would be like a famine during that time because you couldn't get water to drink, cook with, wash with, etc. The frogs would be more of a nuisance than anything else and hair grease will protect your scalp from the lice.

And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.

Most importantly, this show of power was done to remind Israel who their God is and what He can do, whereas famines are usually punishment. To me living through the plagues as a child of God, is akin to living through the great tribulation at the end of days. It's a badge of honor that comes with a great reward: the promised land (or a respected seat in God's kingdom).

Would you rather is a fun game to play, particularly when getting to know someone. A person is asked to choose between two things of equal desiringβ€”making it hard to decide and opening dialogue as to why the person chooses the option they choose. Recently I stumbled across several versions of "Would You Rather?: Bible Edition" and found the questions quite intriguing. I've decided to answer one every Sabbath.[4] Let me know your answer to today's "Would You Rather?" in the comment section.

References and Footnotes

  1. Genesis 41
  2. Exodus 7-11
  3. Larry Holzwarth. "Episodes of Cannibalism throughout History".Β History Collection; September 5, 2020
  4. I found many versions of "Would You Rather?: Scripture Edition"; this question was found in a version made by Megan ofΒ Church Leaders

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